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Boxer Artist

Boxer Dog Art & the Rescued Dog that Inspires It

This is Judy Wood of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada and her Boxer Rony ...
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Judy is a lifelong Boxer lover, who has owned Boxer dogs for over 50 years. She adopted Rony in 2013; he was an adult rescue from Boxer Rescue Canada. Rony was originally pulled from a high-kill shelter in southern California. Since he was a stray, his exact age is unclear; however, he is estimated to be 6 or 7 years old.

Judy majored in Fine Arts and has been an artist in photo montage for ten years. And part of her beautiful art collection features Boxer dogs. She donates all of her part of the proceeds to Boxer Rescue Canada to help them with medical and fostering/adoption expenses.
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"Gigi Greens"  - by Judy Wood
Taking a peek into the world of Judy and her adopted Boxer dog Rony offers a great opportunity to cover two elements that would one would not assume would be linked: Rescuing a Boxer and art! 
Let's learn more about Judy, her amazing Rescue Boxer Rony and about her artwork! 
Q: Hi, Judy. You have had Boxers for over 50 years. How old were you when you had your first Boxer and how was it that he/she came into your life?

A: The first Boxer puppy came into our family when I was 13 or 14. I’m in my late sixties now, so that’s a long time with the breed. My Dad was the one who first caught the Boxer bug. One day he just appeared with a Boxer puppy, and that was how it all started. 

When I was married and with young children, we carried on the family tradition with the next generations of Boxers, and so it has continued. One of my daughters has brought it to the next generation with her Boxer boys, littermate puppies (when she got them) from her local SPCA.

Q: When and how did you first learn about and get involved with Boxer Rescue Canada?

A: I don’t recall when BRC first came to my notice, but it would be well over a decade ago. Once I got onto FB and started following them there, about 6 or 7 years back, I became much more aware of the work they do and the service they provide to the breed and those of us who love Boxers.

They are an invaluable source of information and community to all who love the breed, not just those who want to find a rescue companion. Boxer Rescue Canada's FB page provides a reliable community of like-minded Boxer fanatics, or other “cult” members as I like to think of us Boxer “lifers”.   
Q: Can you tell us what it was like to adopt your Boxer from the rescue? Did he have any health issues or behavioral issues? What steps did you have to take to help him adjust? And how is he doing now? 

A: Rony came to us only a month before I was slated for a hospital stay for a total hip replacement, so we were lucky that he came without many issues. He had already spent 6 or so months being fostered by Marta Nettelfield of BRC, and she did a great job with him, and also with providing me with information and advice on how to manage him.

He had mild separation anxiety if we were away from home (which was never for long as I work from home and my husband is retired) for the first couple of weeks. It expressed itself mostly when he was crated, but by the time I was in the hospital, he could reliably and safely be left loose in the house, which was a big relief to all of us.
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Rony and his good friend Zephyr, a mini-Dachshund
The only other concern I had with him was strong on-leash reactivity to other dogs, and especially to cats. I’ve worked persistently on this over the time we have had him and he’s made huge strides. Now I can generally get him to redirect his attention to me in very short order, and our outings are drama-free (cat encounters excepted). 

Luckily for us, he has had no notable health concerns other than needing some dental work in the first year or so. 
Rony is the calmest and lowest energy Boxer I have ever owned, which makes him perfect for our stage of life and lifestyle. After I lost my previous littermate brothers in their teens, both within one year, I was in a quandary.

I couldn’t imagine my life without a Boxer in it, but I felt I just didn’t have another puppy in me, especially a Boxer puppy. Then I realized I didn’t have to leave the breed that I have loved all my life, I just needed to go to adult rescue and all would be well. 

BRC does its best to match the right dog with the appropriate owner. They are all about making a good fit for both dog and owner, not just moving the dog along to whoever wants it. 

One of the things that has amused/amazed me about Rony is that despite having come from southern California to the Canadian prairies, where it can get to forty below and winter is five months long, he is actually more cold-hardy than my previous Prairie-born Boxers were. That said, there are still many days when walks aren’t an option, and he does own an extensive wardrobe of coats and footwear for the winter days when a brief outing is in the cards.
Q: What led you to being an artist? How did you hone your incredible skill that includes Boxer dog art? 
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"Focus" - by Judy Wood
A: I think I was born with three loves: dogs, horses, and art. I don’t remember a time when my life hasn’t been shaped by them. I drew constantly as a child and teen, and took my university degree with a Fine Arts major. 

After that, I continued to work on my own and to read and learn about various media. I spent a number of years working in stained glass, both window pieces and glass mosaic. I had always taken my own reference photos for artwork, but didn’t really know what I was doing with my camera. 

When I got my first digital DSLR camera a dozen or so years ago, I was able to spend a lot more time figuring out the photography end of things without it costing a lot in film processing.

I got so I could take a decent photo, but I wanted to go farther with my images, which meant learning Photoshop. By the time I had acquired some Photoshop skills, the original photographs were just the raw materials for totally new images. My new motto was “reality is only a starting point”.  

My current work consists of photo-based images, either one-of-a-kind mixed media pieces which combine “real-life” art media with photo images, or the digital collages that are featured on my website. These can take a lot of time and effort to create, but the bonus is that once an image is completed, it can be reproduced in a variety of formats and sizes and at an accessible price, so they can be purchased and enjoyed by anyone that wants one. 

Q: When you create these Boxer art pieces, do you have a Boxer stand in as a model? 

A: All the animals in my photo collages are from my own photos of either my own dogs or of dogs I have met and photographed. This is partly for copyright reasons, but mostly because the contact and immediacy of working from my own photos adds meaning to the process for me. 

Q: Exactly what type of artwork are these paintings?

A: I currently work in photo based mixed media and digitally altered photography.
Q: What made you make the connection between offering amazing Boxer dog art and then donating your part of the proceeds to the rescue organization? 

A: I wanted to contribute to BRC and to give back to the breed that has brought such joy to my life for so many years. I know myself well enough to understand that fostering would not be something I could deal with emotionally. The idea came to me that we all need to work with what we’ve got, and what I’ve got is art. 

At the time that I came up with this concept, I didn’t have any dog art at all, apart from a couple of pieces in other media that I had done of my own dogs. When I thought about it, that was kind of odd, as I had lots of imagery of other animals, from horses (lots of those as I am a horse owner as well) to wildlife, but no dogs.

I did have a fair collection of dog photos taken over the years, so it was then a matter of working with them to generate some art images so I could put my plan into action. I never have a master plan when I am composing one of my montage images. I gather together a few basic elements and see where my path leads, so the end result is often something I would never have foreseen when I started out. 
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Rony, 
happy and comfortable on his bed
Q: What advice/tips would you give to others that are thinking about adopting a rescued Boxer?

A: First, they should be sure that the Boxer is the right breed for them if they do not have previous Boxer experience. Researching breed characteristics, energy levels, food requirements, health concerns, etc. should be at the top of the list.

Have realistic expectations. Rescue Boxers are almost invariably adults, and they have already been let down by their previous owners, so there will be some baggage, although I am continually amazed at how resilient they are and how that happy Boxer personality shines through once their situation improves.

Next step is working with a reputable rescue, preferably one that is foster based. Not all rescues are created equal, and if you get involved with the wrong one you can be setting yourself and the rescue dog up for some heartache. 
Rescues that use capable foster homes with breed experience are going to be best for giving an accurate appraisal of the dog in their care, and of making a good match between dog and new owner. 

A good rescue will require a lot of information from the applicant, and will also want to do a home visit to be sure that all is as stated on your application. There will also be a charge. They will have put a lot of time, effort, and dollars into vet assessments and care, and need to charge in order to keep the rescue afloat and able to continue their work on behalf of dogs in need. 

One of the hardest things once you have your “new” dog, is to have the self-discipline to give them the time and space they need to adapt to their new life. Our natural tendency is to make a big fuss, smother them with attention and generally flood them with all the experiences and love we feel they have missed out on. This can be totally overwhelming to the dog who has no idea who you are, where it is, and what is going to happen. 

I have done volunteer photography for the local SPCA and have seen a number of dogs “bounced” back to the shelter within weeks because the new owners didn’t give the dog a fair chance to adapt. 

BRC promotes the Two-Week Shutdown system of introducing a new dog to your householdWhile it can be hard to follow this when we are so excited about our new friend, it is only fair to the dog to allow them this time of limited interaction so that they can make the best possible adjustment to their new environment. This is even more critical when the adoptee is coming into a home that already has resident pets.
Here is a sampling of Judy's amazing Boxer dog art
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"Boxer Time"
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"Contemplation"
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"Tiger"
These incredible prints are available in all sorts of formats: canvas prints, framed, acrylic prints,
metal prints, wood prints and even posters. 
These Boxer dog works of art are also available as greeting cards and phone cases. 
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"Waiting by the Night River"
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"Vermeer's Dog"
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"The Dock At The Edge Of The Universe"
Artist Judy donates all of her part of the proceeds of her Boxer art
to Boxer Rescue Canada, to promote Boxer dog rescue. 

A huge thanks to Judy for sharing a bit of her life with us. We're happy that her Boxer Rony found a forever home and is able to serve as inspiration for these awesome Boxer dog art original paintings.  
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